A gambling regulator must be established without delay to ensure proper oversight and control of the online gambling industry, insists a local senator from Fine Gael.
Senator Joe O’Reilly said betting companies must ensure that customers can cancel their accounts without being blocked by onerous terms and conditions in order to resolve the problem of problem gambling.
“I was alarmed to read a recent online report from a client of an online betting company who had difficulty canceling his account after requesting it through customer service, with the agent asking several occasions a reason for the cancellation, “said Senator O’Reilly.
He noted how very attractive a company’s app is to sports fans, providing access to soccer results, horse racing and other sporting fixtures, and even allowing them to watch matches in. direct.
“However, to watch some matches, they ask a user to register and give his account details and a deposit amount, where he receives odds for the game and can then place a bet very simply by pressing his phone screen.
“These apps can be a popular way for sports fans to watch their favorite games on the go, but they too easily force users to register for a betting account, which can be difficult to turn off with terms and conditions. .
“This makes the allure of gambling too attractive and easy to pursue for those who might become addicted and find themselves in financial difficulty.”
He says he was motivated to raise problematic gambling in the Seanad because of its “devastating effects” on those who become addicted and their families in communities up and down the country.
“Up to € 10,000 per minute is spent on gambling in this country, and an estimated 29,000 people suffer from gambling addiction, with online gambling on the rise since the onset of Covid.
“In October, the bill on the general rules governing gambling was published and approved by the government. This will give an independent statutory body the power to regulate gambling advertising, websites and applications, in addition to covering online and in-person gambling.
“I would like the gambling regulator to exercise significant oversight over operators offering gambling activities, with the appropriate compliance and enforcement powers in place. It is hoped that the new legislation will provide users with adequate protections and will go some way to tackling problem gambling.
“We need to make sure that the laws governing the betting and gaming industry reflect ever-changing technological developments, and we need to have a radical solution to address the problem of problem gambling,” concluded Senator O’Reilly.